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Captain of sightseeing boat charged in case of Canadian woman killed at Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon

By Staff

  • Jökulsárlón The captain of the amphibious vehicle lacked the necessary qualifications to operate the boat. Photo/Valli

The captain of an amphibious vehicle at Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon who was involved in a fatal accident in August 2015 has been charged with manslaughter. The captain of the boat, who was 22 years old when the accident took place, lacked the qualification to operate the boat. As he was backing the vehicle onto the shore he hit the Canadian woman. The woman was killed when the boat backed over her.

Up to six years in prison

amphibious vehicle Jökulsárlón

One of the amphibious vehicles at Jökulsárlón The boat involved in the accident weighs 20,000 pounds. Photo/Vísir

The Police in South Iceland, which investigated the accident, found that the captain had failed to ensure that it was safe to back onto the shore to pick up passengers. The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service reports the man is facing as much as six years in prison.

The woman was travelling in South Iceland with her family when the tragic accident took place. The family was watching a helicopter land by Jökulsárlón lagoon when one of the sightseeing boats on the lagoon suddenly backed onto the shore. Due to the noise from the helicopter the group didn't hear the boat approaching. The boat did not emit a warning sound to alert pedestrians that it was backing. When the boat hit the family all members fell over. The woman landed beneath the wheel of the boat which did not stop immediately, but drove over the woman.

Still operating boats on the lagoon without proper certification
The Police in South Iceland found that the man was only certified to operate boats which are shorter than 12 m (39 ft), not amphibious vehicles of the size of the boat. The boat also lacked necessary safety equipment, like a rear view mirror and a rear camera. The captain also failed to take necessary precaution before backing the boat.

A statement from the tour company which operates the boat stresses that the company has already taken necessary steps to ensure a similar accident can never take place again. The local news site Vísir reports that the captain involved in the 2015 accident still works for the company, operating its sightseeing boats, despite the fact that he still lacks necessary certification. 

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